Anna Sheffer
December 18, 2017 12:49 pm
Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After weeks of discussion and amendment, Congress will vote on tax reform again on Tuesday, December 19th. Among the expected “yes” votes is a surprise: Tennessee Senator Bob Corker. And a last-minute perk in the tax reform bill has caused some to speculate about why Corker changed his mind.

Corker was the only Republican to vote “no” on the initial Senate tax reform bill because of the $1 trillion it added to the national deficit. And as late as December 13th, Corker expressed concerns that the amended and final version of the bill would increase the national deficit by too much. But by December 15th, Corker had changed his mind.

Opponents of the tax bill were outraged as details emerged showing that the new bill included last-minute tax breaks to real estate investors — including Corker. In an interview with ABC, Senate Whip John Cornyn said that this provision was added at the last minute in order to get the votes needed to pass the bill.

Corker denied that the tax cuts for real estate revenue affected his decision to change his mind. In an interview with the International Business Times, Corker claimed he didn’t know the provision had been added, saying that he had only received a two-page summary of the bill. He asked the IBT to explain the provision to him, and then said he didn’t understand it, dismissing the idea that it had influenced his vote.

According to a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Corker earns anywhere from $1.2 million to $7 million from real estate investments each year. Under the new addition to the tax bill, he would personally save up to $1.19 million every year.

With Corker’s support, the final tax reform bill will probably pass without addressing Corker’s original concerns at all. If this “Corker kickback” is really what caused the senator to change his mind, it would be reprehensible. But regardless of Corker’s motives, the tax bill could still be disastrous for many Americans. If you wish to fight the tax bill, there are some last-minute measures you can take. We’ll be watching the vote to see how it unfolds.

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